South Korea’s trade minister has met with Russian officials in Moscow, an official said Wednesday, November 22, in a move to lay the groundwork for a free trade deal with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) amid growing U.S. trade pressure, Yonhap news agency reports.
Kim Hyun-chong held separate talks with Herman Gref, CEO of Russia’s state-owned banking giant Sberbank and Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexei Gruzdev on Tuesday. They discussed how to lay the foundation for a free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the EAEU, a South Korea trade ministry official said, without giving any further details.
The meetings represent South Korea’s latest efforts to accelerate the ongoing negotiations between South Korea and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) for an open trade pact.
South Korean officials said they hope to launch negotiations with the EAEU by the end of this year.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev agreed last week to accelerate the ongoing negotiations between South Korea and the EAEU for an FTA. The two leaders met on the sidelines of a regional forum in Manila.
South Korean officials say a free trade deal with the EAEU is effectively the same as clinching a bilateral trade deal with Russia.
Vietnam became the first country to sign an FTA with the EAEU in 2015.
The EAEU includes Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.